Tech Tonics: Sometimes You Just Need to Start Things – Marcus Osborne and the Transformational Role of Intrapreneurship

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A capitalist colored by a deep streak of social consciousness, Marcus Osborne, the leader of Health Transformation at Walmart, grew up in the South and planned on a political life.  But experience in the White House and later at the Clinton Foundation made him realize that entrepreneurship more effectively matched his internal clock speed and that the best path to an improved health system was through the commercial world, particularly where you could parlay large platforms into market power and real innovation.

In fact, Marcus came to the conclusion that the real entrepreneurs aren’t the kids in dorms or at Starbucks, they are the ones turning big platforms to better use.  Walmart, Amazon, Google and others, say Marcus, have the best chance to truly change the system.

Marcus joined Walmart in 2007 and has been at the forefront of living that philosophy, working at what is now considered to be one of the organizations best poised to change the way healthcare is consumed, delivered, and financed.  While Arkansas isn’t usually considered to be the front line of innovation, when you look at the work that Walmart has done, particularly in healthcare, it’s clearly time to reconsider.  Marcus has worked on all sides of the healthcare innovation front while at Walmart, from building new clinical delivery systems to rethinking pharmaceutical pricing to looking at new ways to use data for clinical quality improvement.

Marcus says that transformation is not for the faint of heart or the risk averse and that “sometimes you just need to start things,” meaning that it’s important to take leaps of faith to get ahead in business.

We are grateful to GE Ventures for sponsorship of today’s episode. GE Ventures – Multiple Paths to Big Impact.

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